Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State on Tuesday once again apologised to Catholic Bishops and the entire Christendom over his February 9 comments on the visit of Catholic Bishops to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Villa.
Mr. Bello gave the apology at the maiden Kogi State Economic and Investment Summit, which was graced by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Lokoja.
“Let me take a moment out of this event to address an issue which is dear to my heart,” Mr. Bello said.
“I have been mortified since last Friday when a comment I made during a chat with journalists at the State House, Abuja after Juma’at prayers caused an uproar, which is still raging in the press.
“In responding to a question related to the visit of Catholic Bishops to the President and some of their views on the state of the nation to him, it has been reported that I said things which are disrespectful.
“Not only to our revered spiritual fathers in that delegation, but also to Christians in general.”
He explained that nothing could be further from the truth, adding my exact words were, “those that have looted the country dry and normally go to churches and mosques to pay tithes are no longer doing so. Of course, this is the category of people who are angry.”
The governor said that he was trying to generalise, and spoke to the two major religions, only to realise that the word, ‘tithe’, made it appear as if he specifically targeted Christians.
“I have spoken to My Lord, His Grace, Bishop Ignatius Kaigama, President of the Nigerian Bishops’ Conference and President of the Episcopal Conference of West African Catholic Bishops on this.
“To all of my Christian brethren, I apologise for anyway in which I have hurt your sensibilities.
“I also pray my August Guest today, His Excellency the Vice President to help convey to our Christian leaders and brethren all over the world that I would never dream of disrespecting them. I hold all faiths in high regard.”